Ray-Ban owner suffers from lack of clarity on strategy

Company puts back date for strategic update post-merger without giving a reason

Shares in EssilorLuxottica fell on Friday after the maker of Varilux lenses and Ray-Ban glasses pushed back the date to reveal its long-awaited post-merger plans amid speculation of an internal power struggle.

The company was formed by a €46 billion merger of France’s Essilor and Italy’s Luxottica two years ago and was reporting combined results for the first time.

It pledged to deliver on cost savings and forecast stronger revenues this year, but its shares fell on concerns over governance and the postponement of a long-awaited investor day to set out its strategy. The date was pushed back to September 18th after initially being expected this spring. No reason was given.

Nevertheless, EssilorLuxottica predicted sales growth of 3.5-5 per cent this year at constant exchange rates and stuck to its aim of achieving annual savings of up to €600 million within five years by improving products, logistics and cutting costs.

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Revenues of EssilorLuxottica were up 3.2 per cent last year at €16.16 billion at constant exchange rates while net profit came in at €1.9 billion, down 1.7 per cent on what the company said was an “adjusted basis”.

With a currency effect of 4.4 percent, due to the group’s exposure to the U.S. dollar, reported revenue was down 1.2 per cent. Adjusted operating profit margin stood at 15.9 per cent down from 16.5 per cent in 2017.

Analysts were on average expecting net profits of 1.6 billion euros and revenue of 15 billion according to Refinitiv data. – Reuters